Statement by Hon’ble Shri Mallikarjun Kharge, Minister of Labour and Employment, Government of India, at the meeting of Ministers of Labour of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) (Geneva, 13 June 2011)
1. Your Excellency, the Minister of Labour of the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Chairperson of the Ministerial Meeting of the NAM Ministers of Labour, Honourable Ministers and Heads of Delegations,
Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,
2. At the outset, let me convey my sincere appreciation to Your Excellency and other members of the delegation who are organizing this meeting and compliment you for maintaining the tradition of organizing the meeting of NAM Labour Ministers on the sidelines of the International Labour Conference. We take this opportunity to reaffirm India’s unwavering commitment to the purposes and principles of the Non-Aligned Movement.
3. We also welcome the reform package to improve the functioning of the ILO Governing Body. In this regard, a good structured consultation process in a tripartite manner within ILO will be helpful in restructuring the Governing Body of the ILO. We are hopeful that the proposed reform package when implemented would also be able to establish an integrated approach to setting the agenda of GB meetings, result in better clarity in preparation of documents, facilitate effective time management and streamline the working of GB.
4. We recognize the need for improving the working methods of the Committee on Application of Standards which tend to focus almost exclusively on the developing countries. The work of this Committee should reflect transparency, objectivity and clearly defined criteria in its functioning. The Committee needs to strike a balance on the issues it addresses, both in terms of the standards it focuses on as well as the countries it applies them to. Instituting transparency in its operations will no doubt enhance the credibility of such supervisory bodies. The Committee should ensure the genuineness of a complaint against any country by requesting a preliminary response from the government concerned. In this regard, the Committee should also take into account the various institutional mechanisms and the judicial redressals available in the country while formulating its opinion on the merits of any case.
5. We recognize the remarkable progress made by ILO in promoting fairness and dignity at work for men and women and social justice for all. The ILO Global Jobs Pact and Social Justice Declaration are important templates in the world of work in the changing circumstances and environment.
6. In the emerging scenario, we in the NAM must continue to play a positive role and strive for inclusive growth. NAM must develop new linkages and relationships with the ILO so as to play a critical role in labour governance that is commensurate with its size and population.
7. Providing decent work to all is one of the basic objectives of India. We have been implementing the Decent Work Country Programme-India Document (DWCP-ID) in collaboration with the ILO for promoting the decent work agenda across all sectors and sub-sectors of the economy. Even the successive Five Year Plans in India have always stressed on realizing high rates of growth in all economic activities, with a view to generating additional employment for the unemployed, and also to create decent sustainable work for those already employed. Our draft New Employment Policy if basically aimed at working towards the goal of decent and remunerative work for all women and men seeking such work, in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity. The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) is playing a very crucial role in providing and promoting decent work in rural areas. Steps are being taken by the Government to extend National Health Insurance Scheme, namely Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) to MGNREGA beneficiaries. Recently, Modular Employable Skills (MES) scheme under the Skills Development Initiative (SDI) provided basic training to the domestic workers to enhance their skills and employability.
In conclusion, I would like to emphasize the need for collaborative efforts by the international community, the financial institutions and the development partners as well as strengthening South-South Cooperation for tackling the developmental needs and challenges of the developing countries.